$50 in Ho Chi Minh City

The buying power of the USD in Vietnam is fantastic. For this blog post I will assume a conversion rate of 20K VND to 1 USD for easy conversion. You can easily get by with less than $10 USD (~200K VND ). It's a huge city and if you want you can spend thousands of USD a day. However, if you want to live it up a little and eat a lot of tasty foods, you can have a great time with $50 USD. Here is how I spent the money.…

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Surviving the Days Leading Up to Tết in Ho Chi Minh City

Tết is the Vietnamese Lunar New year. It happens around the end of January and is based off of the lunar calendar. I specifically chose to come to Vietnam during this season to get a taste of what Tết is like. Boy was I surprised. This is what it's like and how to survive in Ho Minh City, Vietnam if you are visiting during this time. Tết is like of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter had a baby. It's packed with traditions pulled from all the cultural influence Vietnam has experienced.…

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Living on the Edge at 20mph

For my first week in Ho Chi Minh City, I used the Grab App which is like Uber, a cab calling service. What's unique is that I can also call motorbikes (xe ôm). The xe ôm are significantly cheaper than cabs, but, more importantly, it exposed me to the sights, sounds, and smells of the hustling city. I definitely prefer it over cars, which isolated me from the city. Each ride, when I rode from one far end of the city to the other, ranges from 50K VND to 80KVND.…

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Bedtime is Overrated

It has been a week since I landed in Vietnam and I think I've dialed in my my schedule. I work at an amazing, high intensity startup that is based in San Jose, California and Portland, Oregon. One of the many allures of the startup was the ability to work remotely. My Schedule In my startup, the engineers wear many hats so I need to be able to quickly react and work with other coworkers. With that in mind, I decided that I to want keep my work hours aligned…

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Take Your Time With That Coffee

Vietnamese people hustle. Hard. At all hours of the day and night, I'll see people working. They'll be peddling a bike powered wooden cart while hawking bootlegged DVDs and children toys, delivering fridges on a 125CC moped, and professionals of all ages running about from one work place to the next. But even with all that hustle, they all know how to sit down and unwind. It's common to see people, from all walks of life, sitting on small plastic chairs at an outdoor cafe chatting. If you sit down…

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Lost Luggage in Dubai?!

It's been a long time since I last posted. I don't have a good excuse. I just slipped. But now I'm back with something a little different. I'm going write smaller short blog posts and include video logs of my life experiences. Some of it will be programming related, some of it will be travel related, and there will definitely be food porn. To kick things off, I'm spending two months in Vietnam. I'll be working remotely and keeping west coast US hours. Here is the first vlog of getting…

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React Native Animations

React.Animated I recently had to create some animations in React Native. Their animation library is relatively new and not fully documented yet. I had a hard time learning the API, so I am going to document what I've learned so you can have another resource in your learning process. React.Animated is one of React Native's two animation systems. The other is React.LayoutAnimation. I will only be covering the former in this post. How I Understand it React.Animated works similar to how CSS transition animations works. It…

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My First Baby is an Ugly One

I've wanted to release an iOS app ever since my freshman year as a Computer Science undergraduate. I think everyone in the computer science field wanted to release an app or game, at some point in their career. I never created a meaningful iOS app during my undergraduate career. I was generally lazy, intimidated by the amount of learning involved, and believed that all of my ideas weren't worth the effort. On May 29th, 2015, my game Ludemus became available on the iOS App Store. The journey to releasing this…

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Radio Silence: End of the Soylent Run

Hi Guys, Sorry for not updating in awhile. I've been swamped with work, school, physical therapy, and various other life demands. It's been 3-4 weeks since my last post. During that time, I've been mainly off Soylent. Soylent was easy to fit into my lunch schedule; however, I found that my consumption of it was not consistent enough to warrant further blog posts. Work provided lunches, social circumstances, and poor timing have prevented me from being a more consistent Soylent drinker. I don't have anyone to blame but myself. To…

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Soylent Day 44-50: Slipping off that Soylent

Last week was not a good week for my Soylent regimen. Wasted Soylent I started off the last 7 days with a bad batch of Soylent. I had made a batch of Soylent the Friday before the start of the last 7 days and left it in my company's refridgerator. The refridgerator shut down over the weekend. Everything in the refridgerator went bad, including the Soylent. Luckily, I had another pouch of Soylent powder in the office and made a fresh batch. Monday and Wesdnesday were the only days where…

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Soylent Day 37 - 43: Normal Days Until The B Day

The first half of this past week was uneventful. I was chugging Soylent for lunch, eating regular dinners, and drank plenty of beers. It was pleasant. My work productivity, energy levels, and weight were fairly consistent. My Birthday Day 1 My birthday was this past weekend. I'm not a fan of big birthday bashes. I like smaller gatherings with close friends. I had no plans for my birthday this year; I figured that I was too old for birthday parties now. On Saturday, I took the train to my hometown,…

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Soylent Day 30 - 36: Beers for Days

It's great to be back on normal foods for dinner. I feel like I've been stressing this a lot, but it is a huge deal for me. It makes social logistics simple. I don't stress about food during my dates or hangouts because I know I can be flexible with eating. Another thing I want to emphasize is that Soylent has been a great lunch substitute. Like I've mentioned before, Soylent for lunch has been a great boon for my productivity at work since it doesn't cause the post lunch…

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Soylent Day 23 - 29: Easy Week and Little Gains

It's been a really fast week. It's probably because I'm back to a normal food for dinner. I didn't catch myself struggling with food temptations during the past week. My week consists of two main meals. I have Soylent for lunch and, if I am hungry, a pre bed snack. Dinner is reserved for normal food. It has provided me with all of the umami, savory, and fatty tastes that I enjoy and crave daily. It has also fulfilled my relaxation time. I am definitely more calm and happy this…

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Soylent Day 17 to 22 - A Rough Week and a Great Finish

I restarted my Soylent regimen on Tuesday, September 2nd. Today is the September 7th. These past 6 days have been trying psychologically. Energy for Days My work life has been great. My energy and productivity levels are consistently high. There is a Capital One run Peet's coffee shop on my way to work. They offer a 50% discount on purchases to Capital One card holders. My inner cheapskate can't pass up on such a great deal, so I've been starting my mornings with a large cup of iced coffee. That…

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Soylent Day 16 - A Change of Pace

Today has been an uneventful day. I discovered last night that today is Labor day and that I had the off. There goes my structured work day. I slept until noon, ran a few errands, and vegged out. I'm not used to having an unplanned day. I perform my best my when my days are structured and habitual. I rely on the structure and my habits to make progress in everything I do. When left to my own devices, I crumble. For example, I didn't eat Soylent at all today.…

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Soylent Day 10 to 15 - Being Social is the Bane of Soylent

It's been 5 days since my last post. I promised I'd write on Friday, but I had a date Friday and a group date on Saturday so I didn't get a chance to update this blog until Sunday. It's not such an issue since the last 5 days had one central theme: not eating Soylent. The Company Retreat My company retreat was a blast. It started as soon as we got seated on the bus. We were given red solo cups. Pitchers of orange and red drinks were passed around.…

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Soylent Day 9 - Mouthful of Eggs and a Fistful of Soylent

I really shouldn't read fiction before bed. Similar to Sunday night, I stayed up until 2:30AM reading. I only managed to pry myself from the fictional world because of an egg induced sleep. During my reading, I walked to the fridge to pour myself some water water and realized that I still had 4 soft boiled eggs left. If you've been following my blog, you'll know that I soft boiled 8 eggs some time last week. It was late in the evening or early in the morning, depending on…

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Soylent Day 8 - Getting Back on the Horse

If you've been following my blog, you'll know that I've been a bad boy this past weekend. To make things worse, I got absorbed with some manga reading and didn't sleep until 3AM. At 8 AM my phone alarm rang. I unlocked my phone, set an alarm for 8:15AM, and went back to sleep. In the back of my mind, I knew that I had to get up, so when the 8:15AM alarm rang, I flipped off my blankets and rolled out of bed. To my surprise, as…

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Soylent Day 7 - Weekend Recap

I've been cheating from Friday till today. It's unavoidable because of social requirements. I had a date Friday, my mother's birthday dinner and my dance crew's 1 year anniversary party on Saturday, and I was slightly hungover today. Okay, the last one was a pretty weak excuse. I don't think I'll ever have a weekend that's 100% Soylent. Friday Friday night was on the healthier end of the spectrum. My date and I went for a nice walk in Cambridge. After a bit of walking we dediced to try out…

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Soylent Day 6 - More Cheating and Frenzy

Today is my mom's birthday and the 1 year anniversary a dance crew I am in. I'll be out all day, so today's post will be bundled up with Sunday's. Look forward to tomorrow's post guys. I think this might become the norm, bundling the weekend's post into one. Cheers.…

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Soylent Day 5 - Cheating is the Norm

I had a boiled egg last night after my last Soylent meal. I'll have to do this for another week. It's the only way I'm going to finish all of the soft boiled eggs from last Wednesday. The egg white is not didn't taste great cold, but the yoke tasted almost as intoxicating as the first time. It has this savory, umami flavor that I love so much. Vivid Dreams I slept early last night. I turned off the lights at midnight and rolled around for a little bit, but…

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Soylent Day 4 - Stumble and Recovery

Wednesday is billiards night. So, after publishing last night's post, I biked to my usual billiards hall. I arrived around 10:30PM, played a few games, and drank a Guinness. Guinness has roughly the same amount of calories as Bud Light, but tastes a ton better. Surprised?. After the first beer, I stopped myself and had water. This is a huge contrast from my usual 3+ glasses of whiskey and or beer. Around 12:30AM, I biked home. This is also atypical because I usually stay until hall closes at…

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Soylent Day 3 - Getting into the Swing of Things

It was easy waking up today. I was pleasantly surprised because I had a really hard time falling asleep last night. I mentioned in yesterday's post that I was pretty tired, but, when it came time to fall asleep, I couldn't. I turned off the lights at 1AM and didn’t start dozing until 2AM. My mind was a frenzied tornado of thoughts. It was probably from the pot of tea at 7PM. I also felt a tinge of hunger while falling asleep. It wasn't unbearable and I can't blame…

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Soylent Day 2 - Heavy Eyes and Wired Mind

I woke at 8AM and was exhausted. I'm not sure what caused it because I went to bed at 12:30AM and feel asleep quickly. That gives me roughly 7-7.5 hours of sleep. I don't think it's caused by the sudden Soylent diet; I've only had Soylent for one day. Perhaps, the alarm pulled me out of deep sleep (stages 3 and 4). The commute to work was blur. I spent half of the time trying to convince my eye lids to stay open. My mind was like that…

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Soylent Day 1 - Pleasantly Surprised

I woke up today feeling absolutely drained. This not because of Soylent though. I was drained because I was in NYC all weekend, partied a little too hard, and stayed up a later than usual to write the Soylent Day 0 post. I walked into my office at 9:15AM with a dull headache right between the eyebrows. I don't eat breakfast so I only had water to carry me through the morning. First Taste I usually have lunch at at 12:30PM, but, by 11:30AM, I was famished.…

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Soylent Day 0 - Starting the Soylent Weight Loss Journey

My name is John Huynh. I'm a 23 year software engineer, break dancer, and I want to be at 7% body fat. This post marks the beginning of a series of blog posts chronicling my weight loss experience using Soylent. If you aren't familiar with Soylent, it is ,essentially, liquid meals that provide all of the nutrients a human body needs. I'll cover things like how I feel, how is my physical performance while consuming Soylent, and include daily physique images and scale readings. I will try to consume only…

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Accidental Dive Into Web Scraping

Hello Arby I work at RBMTechnologies, a Ruby on Rails shop, whose flagship product allows large companies to execute merchandising campaigns. Anyways, we had recently adopted Campfire and I got extremely excited. I had read about how GitHub created Hubot and wanted something similar at RBM. Since we were a Ruby and Rails shop, I figure I would create something similar in Ruby. If it was engineered correctly, it could be something fun that my fellow engineers and I could tinker with. With a few hours work, I had something…

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Back To Basics

Limbo For the past one and a half months, I have been in a state of limbo. It allstarted back in September. I had gotten back from a month long vacation toVietnam, received some disappointing news, was coping with some emotionalissues, and began another semester of grad school. My life was in disarray andso was my rhythm. I was able to function throughout this challenging point in mylife, but it felt like a dull flurry of random activities. It was like I waswatching myself function run in a hamster wheel,…

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Hours in a Week

There are 168 hours in a week. I believe a person should sleep at least 8 hours a day or whatever it isthat you biologically need. What's the point of being awake if you aren't alive?Caffeine can only do so much. When you don't get enough sleep, you will end upspending your first couple hours awake trying to get "awake" anyway. Why notavoid this pointless morning ritual and take that time get the sleep you need.Your body and mind will thank you. So for me, I try to…

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Pursuit of Perfection

Perfection If you are like me, once you have an interest, you will do what is within yourpower to excel it. We both know that perfection is impossible. Thatdoesn't mean we can't try. We dedicate ourselves to a consistent schedule of disciplined practice. Weknow that the little moments of pain, will yield a lifetime of pleasure. Furthermore, if you are like me, you know that there are rough days. Those arethe days when you don't want to hit the gym, go running, write a blog post,pick up the guitar,…

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